Wot I Think: Bloodline Champions

By Quintin Smith on March 24th, 2011 at 12:55 pm.

Those parachute pants might look like a fashion faux pas, but in his defense you almost certainly can't touch this.

I’ve had my eye on PvP arena battle game Bloodline Champions for months. A new, free-to-play, ultra polished e-sport? Colour me curious. I’ve spent the last week scratching and spitting my way out of noob status towards respectability, and feel as poised to tell you Wot I Think as I ever will be.

The match begins. Two teams of three sprint towards one another- between them, thirty six nervous fingers are hovering over thirty six unique abilities. In seconds both groups have reached the centre of the arena, and… and what? And nothing. Both groups stop a mere stone’s throw away from one another. Because Bloodline Champions might be blood sport, and it might be wild, but it’s not some wild, bloody, unthinking melee. You’re better off thinking of it as fantasy dodgeball.

But let’s take a step back. The core of Bloodline Champions is the same as Defense of the Ancients and its ilk, which is as follows: first you choose a hero from an impressively broad selection (21 in this case), and then the game itself takes place from a Diablo-like top-down perspective with you expected to make use of a small bank of skills unique to your hero.

Unlike a fighting game, the mechanic overseeing this action is that all of your skills, outside of your basic attack, operate on a cooldown of 7 seconds or so. Let’s say you’re a melee type. Speaking generally, in the first 7 seconds of a fight you’ll be able to dash once, throw your weapon once, block once, and launch a really powerful attack once.

Now, let’s go a little deeper. Let’s say your fighter has a power that makes him invulnerable for 1.5 seconds. Do you use it when the fight starts, so you have a better chance of using it twice or three times in the fight? Do you use it when your opponent opens up with one of his more lethal powers, hoping you’ll see it coming? Or do you keep it in reserve, in case you choose to flee the scene or if one of his friends shows up? That’s the core of DotA. Now multiply that several times over to account for all your powers, and multiply that by all your team-mates, who you’ll be fighting alongside. That’s a match of DotA. It’s a tactical experience, yet once you factor the sheer speed of the thing, it’s also as rough and mad as clinging to a mechanical bull.

How Bloodline Champions differs from this is that almost every single power belonging to every single hero, or ‘Bloodline’, is skill-based. Translation: Every ability is something you can make a total hash of.

Let’s say you’re playing a healer. Your basic healing power will actually be a relatively slow projectile with a slight casting delay, meaning you need to be a safe location when you cast it, then you’ll need to lead your target slightly with the mouse in order to actually hit him and heal him. Unlike the steep learning curve of most DotA-alikes, Bloodline Champions offers an immediate hook. A crap player is going to “miss”, in one way or another, with most of his abilities. A great player will get the most out of every single one, all the time.

Outside of this, the developers of BC have simply torn DotA right down to its basics. Creeps, towers, respawns, levelling up, equipment and all the other elements that you don’t need to know about are gone, crumpling a 20 minute war into three 40 second rounds. It is, essentially, the Counter-Strike to DotA’s Battlefield. The developers have also done away with random damage. No longer will your charge attack do 12-18 damage, no, not here. The genre has received a hyphenectomy. Your axe will do 14 damage every single time.

The end result for Scandinavian developers Stunlock Studios is something that could happily be categorised as an e-sport. This game of theirs amounts to nothing but desperate displays of skill and panic, with design so tight that despite inarguable strength in numbers, a talented player can happily cut down two lesser ones every single time. At a higher level, displays of flawless teamwork are genuinely awe-inspiring. If you go running straight in to an opposing team that knows what they’re doing, you’ll get tossed around like a cat in a washing machine.

Not that higher level play is something you’ll have to concern yourself with for a while. You’ll just want to master your chosen Bloodline, and I can’t think of a better way of illustrating how fun that is than to pick apart my own choice for you- the Guardian.

That’s my girl.

As a tank, she’s expected to deal damage and take damage in equal measure, but she also has some healing skills. She and I are more than a little concerned about her role on a team, but we work it out, don’t we? Yes. We work it out.

Now, her powers-

Sweeping Strike

This is her bog-standard left click axe attack. Sounds simple, right? No. No it’s not. Because it deals more damage on consecutive hits, meaning there’s a temptation for me to harry a single enemy for longer than is, perhaps, wise.

Axe of Zechs

Meanwhile, a right click causes my Guardian to throw her backup axe for a moderate amount of damage and have it return to her, wherever she is. The neat thing about this is that if I miss, I still have time to run into a place whereby the axe will hit my target on the return trip. Do I ever remember to do this? No, of course not. I’m busy weaving out of the way of area of effect attacks with all the grace of a junkie fending off an imaginary panther and using

Intervene

I love this ability more than my own mother. Intervene is a charge attack that deals a bit of damage and inflicts the target with Armour Break (a status that increases any further damage taken) for 2 to 5 seconds. Ah! But I said Bloodline Champions did away with randomness, did I not? Have a little faith, man. The amount of time Armour Break lasts increases as I charge from further away, popping open a beautiful risk/reward mechanic. Charge sooner and you’ll get into the fight quicker and deal more damage, but there’s a bigger chance of your target sidestepping you like some hateful matador.

But wait! There’s more! Because if I use Intervene to successfully charge into somebody /on my team/, it heals both of us for 10 health and resets the cooldown of Intervene completely, so I can use it again straight away. The only twist is that you can’t use Intervene on the same person twice consecutively. Doesn’t that just sound like the best thing? Yes, well, wait until you’ve tried to use it to heal somebody in the middle of a right, only to miss and go sprinting straight out of the arena.

Chains of Zechs

Hover the cursor over an area, activate this ability and one second later all enemies within a few metres of your cursor take a scrap of damage and can’t move or act for 2.2 seconds. The possibilities are endless. By which I mean I’m not sure I’ve used this power effectively, ever.

Disperse

Oh, Lord. Nothing tells me how far I have yet to come in Bloodline Champions like this ability. When you use it you can’t move or act for 1 second, but the next hostile attack that hits you is negated, and all nearby enemies take damage and can’t use any abilities for 1.2 seconds. Lots of classes have an ability like this- a kind of kung-fu block. One day I will get good with it. It is not today.

Chain Heal

This, though? I can use this. I can. Chain Heal is simply a healing wave that, if you hit an ally with it, bounces between other allies automatically, healing less each time. It makes me feel like Mother Teresa, watching that little blue light travel from ally to ally and sometimes back to me. It makes me feel like a success. See also:

Cyclone Charge

Every Bloodline has an Ultimate ability that charges slowly as you successfully use your other abilities. The purpose of this is so that you can get it fully charged and then die, allowing you to scream at the monitor and start chewing on your keyboard with rage. Sometimes you will get the chance to actually use it though, and those are good times. Cyclone Charge simply sends my Guardian spinning in a straight line, hacking open any enemies in her path for a total of 30 damage plus the Deep Wound status effect that has them bleeding all over the place. Gorgeous.

This isn’t actually everything the Guardian can do- in a mechanic taken from Japanese fighting games, she has a couple of “EX” versions of her normal abilities which use up 40% of her ultimate bar, but I haven’t gotten around to figuring those into my tactics yet. She also has a mechanic whereby she builds up Judgement and uses it to turn her default attack in a conical area-of-effect attack? Yeah, I don’t know.

But I’m having fun. God, I’m having fun. I compared this game to dodgeball earlier, and that’s what it feels like- it’s all positioning, and struggling vainly to achieve a state of divine immaterialism where you only deal damage and never receive it. The first few seconds of a match where both teams run up to one another and just hover there is an awesome bit of choreography- nobody wants to end up on their own, everybody wants to stick together. And then some guy playing a Vanguard uses the Taunt ability that sends one member of the opposing team running towards him on autopilot and all Hell breaks loose.

Simply put, this is the most fun I’ve ever had with a free-to-play game. Not only are you getting an astonishingly polished product with great ideas behind it for no money whatsoever, everything that is available for you to buy for real money- new Bloodlines and skins, mostly- doesn’t given anybody a tactical advantage, /and/ you can eventually unlock just buy playing the game anyway. Every match you play and achievement you unlock earns you Blood Coins, which are an inefficient yet valid means of unlocking almost anything.

Are there any problems? A couple, the more serious of which is the small cabal of players who join matches, then either only move enough to prevent their being auto-kicked for inactivity, or start doing so when your team loses the first round. While winners get more Blood Coins and are more likely to rank up, losers still get Blood Coins and are more likely to rank down, allowing these horrible people to get a kick out of dominating some noobs.

That said, nine out of ten matches I played didn’t feature these freaks, so I’d say they’re more than bearable.

There’s also the issue of game modes outside of standard arena battles, which is to say Capture the Artifact and Conquest, being about as much fun to play at an intermediate level as sticking your hand in a ceiling fan (the game’s design suffers terribly when death simply means respawning and running straight back into a chaotic brawl), but a ridiculous majority of matches you’ll find are arena battles and those are more than capable of supporting the entire framework of the game.

If you’re a budget-conscious gamer who likes to get competitive, you would be a frightening, gibbering fool were you not to check this out. It’s fun, takes up no more of your time than is strictly necessarily and is moreish for all the right reasons- the thrill of stringing together your powers in new combos, or of dying only to watch your sole surviving team member defeat the entire opposing team with enough gall and cunning to have you laughing out loud.

That’s Bloodline Champions, ladies and gents. It is tight like an obese man in a Formula 1 car. Check it out.

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69 Comments »

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  1. Antsy says:

    How is the community? I’ve had this installed for a month and only played the tutorials. I’m afraid my dalliance’s with League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth have soured me somewhat towards these types of games.

    • zergrush says:

      During the beta everyone was pretty noob friendly on non-ranked games, saw lots of people giving friendly advice and instructions and not many talking shit or putting the blame on each other after losing, It was way more welcoming to new players than the DotA / LoL / HoN communities have ever been. Also, most players that I met were former GW / WoW / other MMOS arena/pvp players.

      Don’t really know how it is after launch, tho, never came back after the beta.

    • Antsy says:

      That’s encouraging. There is a culture of abuse that seems almost ubiquitous to these sort of games that just baffles me. I’m probably just too old for them!

    • frenz0rz says:

      I picked up HoN about a year ago and loved it to bits. I started off playing with a few friends, and we learnt to play the game together.

      Fast forward 6 months and 500 gameplay hours later, and I never wanted to see that goddamn game again. It literally turned me into a hate-filled filth spewing monstrosity, yelling at friend and foe alike when an hour long game was ruined by someone’s repeated misfortune or ill-judgement. Even now, I still dont quite now what aspect of the game makes so many people act like that. It just does. The amount of time you need to put in to be any good, perhaps? The way the community and PSR rating system has you constantly worrying abou your stats, in fear of constantly being kicked from every lobby for being undesirable? Maybe its the way some people insist on always playing the ‘carry’ to feed their own ego and stats, forcing everyone else into crappy support roles that the PSR system does not reward?

      Whatever it was, playing HoN turned me into a bit of a twat, and when I noticed that attitude spilling over into other games with other friends, I decided enough was enough. I think the whole experience has put me off this genre for good, though.

    • Rush Ton says:

      I would imagine that the game consisting of short 40 second rounds rather than a single 20 min plus game means people are more likely to be forgiving when a player messes up.

    • zergrush says:

      Dota and similar games are just no fun when you are losing, and you can’t just straight up leave or you’ll be labeled as a “leaver”. And there usually are a shitload of systems that penalize you for losing.

      Most of the games that have this “no-fun-losing” problem also have those community issues ( see: “serious” counter-strike mix players, that are at least as bad as dota players ). While in something like Team Fortress you can do pretty well and have fun even if your team is being beaten ( there ARE some guys that take public TF way too seriously, but it’s nowhere near as bad ).

      In the end it boils down to design or “community-enforced-system” design issues in those games.

      edit: Just remembered that I had some IRL friends that were on lower skill levels and they would only let me play with them if there were no other members of my team with me, they would just straight up kick us from the lobbies because they said that when I played with a “serious” team I started acting like an asshole.

    • OpT1mUs says:

      It’s all about the game time. 35+ min matches take much more toll on people than 60 second ones. When one person ruines your chances to win after 40 minutes, you can’t help it, you will get annoyed/angry. Now multiply that by 1000+ games (in my case) and you turn into an abusive twat.
      That is also the reason I stopped playing Hon, enough is enough. Now I switched to Lol, playing casualy, which is an objectively easier game, and although it can be as rage inducing as Hon, it’s much more forgiving to bad players – so you can make a comeback even if you have some braindead people in your team.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      Since matches are so short it’s much more bearable to play with dicks if you end up with one.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I think it’s fair to say that most people who end up with a dick will play with it….

      Sorry.

    • Crescend says:

      The problem with games like DotA and LoL is that enemies can easily gain experience and gold by farming the less experienced players, which snowballs the odds to their side. I’m still a newb to LoL, but I’ve played enough to start getting mildly annoyed seeing yet another new player rush to obvious traps over and over. I still love the game though, and hopefully when I reach higher levels I’ll be teamed with more experienced players and will begin to understand the finer nuances of team play.

      On a side note, I’m looking forward to giving this game a try when I get home again next week, I’ve always fancied a bit faster-paced fighting games.

    • innociv says:

      The community is really good in 9 out of 10 of games.

      Even when your’e losing 2-0(First to 3 wins, so it can take 3 rounds or 5), people tend to be supportive because 2-0 comebacks are quite common.

      A lot of the people playing are the /real/ competitive crowd, who are resepectful to their fellow competitive gamer. It’s like 10 years ago, playing UT or Quake3, those type of gamers.
      It’s not the LoL/WoW crowd where you have a lot of terrible people who THINK they’re good saying everyone else is bad.

      I remember way back then, how apologetic people would be when they accidentally killed you when you were typing. Often they’d offer to let you get a free kill on them to make amends.
      Good times. Glory days.

      Anyway, a lot of this comes down to that you’re playing 5 minute matches, not 25-80 minute long ones.
      People get so infuriated because they’re stuck with the same people that they hate for such a long time. Isn’t that sort of the basis for some methods or torture? Pretty understandable that one would go mad.
      If you get someone awful in BLoodlines, then oh well, in 2 or 3 minutes it’ll be over and you’ll get people that are better next time.

  2. pakoito says:

    Blocked bloodlines IS game advantage, even if they are bad. You cannot have SF2 without Blanka and say the game is balanced for all players.

    Other than that I did and do like the game, I played it BEFORE it was picked up by Funcom and the prototype was great, with spit and polish this must be a gorgeous game I may play when I don’t have time for HoN ^^

    Does it work on netbooks? I didn’t try.

    • fuggles says:

      Not really, assuming the bloodlines are all balanced then the game is balanced. You are perhaps disadvantaged in game variety, but not necessarily balance.

    • pakoito says:

      The grounds must be the same for all players. In any DOTAgame the lineup is as important as skills and no hero is directly replaceable. If one of the teams lack one hero that would fit their strategy or counterpick the enemies’ because nobody payed it they’re in disadvantage.

      But it’s not that important in this game I can give you that.

    • Warskull says:

      @fuggles:
      Some bloodlines are a bit better than others and more importantly some bloodlines are strong or weak vs a specific bloodline. Thus only being able to play one bloodline is a bit of an issue. At free to play unlock rates it is about 1 bloodline every 2 weeks.

  3. MadTinkerer says:

    I wonder if this style of play will be adapted for some of the maps in DOTA2? Valve like to include multiple types of gameplay in their multiplayer games, and original DOTA was just one one-style map.

    (It wouldn’t necessarily make BLC redundant, though, as DOTA2 and BLC have completely different characters and abilities.)

  4. Dominic White says:

    This really is less like DOTA, and more like an arena-based version of Nox, for those who remember it. Bloodline Champions is far more arcadey and fighting-game-inspired than the usual pseudo-RTS approach.

    • pakoito says:

      It’s Warlocks from Warcraft 3, all LoL Dota HoN communities agreed on that. Good game ^^

    • paterah says:

      Like Warlocks?

      Not sure if serious…..

    • OpT1mUs says:

      It is mostly Guild Wars arena-like.

    • pakoito says:

      It cannot be GW arena because the skills are aimed skillshots, you cannot focus one character.

    • Tacroy says:

      Like Nox? Jesus Christ, I’m sold! I was just thinking the other day about how awesome that game was, and I should see if there are any servers still running somewhere…

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s not entirely like Nox, but the arcadey, skill-based ‘dodge, shoot, counter, dodge again and repeat’ gameplay reminded me far more of Nox than, say, Diablo or DOTA.

    • pakoito says:

      I’ve been trying Nox this afternoon and it looks awesome. It’s one of the few old games where you can get from menu to the game in less than 10 seconds and everything is moving and dynamic from there…PEW PEW PEW PEW.

      No wonder where has Magicka taken his influences.

  5. NieArch says:

    I picked this game week ago, and it’s pretty fun and intense. My only complain with it is unlocking new stuff, it requires a lot of blood coins if you don’t want to pay for anything.

    Community is ok, not as bad as in other dota-style games.

    • jstar says:

      Your complaint is that it takes a while to unlock stuff for free and if you want it sooner you have to pay for it?
      There is literally no pleasing some people.

    • Bremze says:

      You can get enough bloodcoins for your first character in around 10-12 hours and maybe double that for the next. I wouldn’t say that it is too high, you’ll spend most of your time playing with one bloodline that you prefer anyways.

      Also, you don’t have to be super hardcore to enjoy the game. I’m having tons of fun playing around an hour a day. Its easy to just jump in, play a few games and then go on to do other stuff.

    • Tokjos says:

      It’s a perfectly valid complaint. The cost to unlock a new character is way to high.
      When I started playing I used the Ranid Assassin bloodline, and I got quite proficient with it. When the unlocked classes rotated, I didn’t want to grind forever using characters I didn’t like, and stopped playing the game as an result.

    • jrod says:

      even after buying the game and having my choice of almost all of the bloodlines i still think the Randid Assassin is one the most fun

  6. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    Did anyone else play Dawnspire? It was a class based DotA style game from a few years ago, sounds similar to this in that it was only player characters fighting over capture points etc. Had some fun with it, unfortunately the developers went bankrupt but I think there’s a small community still running a server for it.

    • KaL_YoshiKa says:

      Damn man, a fellow Dawnspire player – I spent money on it back when the developers were still around. Bloodline Champions I guess is a bit similar – view points different and the maps are smaller but it has more champions.

      Personally I prefer LoL more as the longer games feel more meaningful than quick little titbits of fights.

  7. sexyresults says:

    “Outside of this, the developers of BC have simply torn DotA right down to its basics. .”
    That paragraph got me excited. Leveling up, last hitting creep kills, all of that crap turned me right off dota.

    This all reminds me that valve are making a dota clone, and I am sad

    • funtard says:

      I feel the same way but I also have faith in valve so hopefully it will turn out fine.

  8. scottossington says:

    Can we please retire the term “Colour me ……..” I come here for new word smithing, not tired ones you get out of the back of the shop on an early sunday morning.

  9. zergrush says:

    I used to love those CTF matches, CCing opponents and covering the artifact carrier was way more fun than standard skirmishes. Specially because I liked playing as Alchemist, and in most arena matches I had to change to Psychopomp due to the team not really figuring out how to benefit from the alch skills ~.~

  10. Farkeman says:

    I think this game doesn’t get enough attention , its the most fun e-sport game I ever played , i dropped wow and sc2 for this .
    now I just got to diamond league and i am having so much fun !

    What stunlock needs (and they are working on it ) is a replay system , then some youtube commentators will start doing blc commentaries and the game will be super popular in no time !

    aw and new tournament system is awesome , every game should have it now .

    • celewign says:

      I would love to youtube a new game like this. Quakelive is casted by far better than me, LoL doesn’t have spectate (why? they want to be a comp game… retards in Riot), and no one plays Company of Heroes anymore (my original game to cast).

      Games NEED to have spectate and replay if they want to take off competitively. Critical.

    • pakoito says:

      LoL wants to be a comp game but it’s not, so many mechanics were stripped down and the scalability lategame of all heroes is…odd for long-time players. Most DOTA players stood in DOTA and a little % moved to HoN where there’s tournament money and stuff weekly. And almost dayly casts in honcast and gamereplays.

    • Droniac says:

      Actually there are already several YouTube commentators who cast live games. Stunlock studios’ eSports manager is even setting up his own YouTube channel on the 2gdtv account, which already has a couple of great BLC videos.

      There are also several popular live streams. Blgaming does regular tournament coverage several days a week, jackazzm (SK Gaming) shows high-level gameplay from his own perspective, and BLC Forever is a 24/7 stream of BLC gameplay with skilled players. Those can all be found on own3d.tv.

  11. Namos says:

    Looks interesting, but it seems to cater solely to the hardcore – which makes it unapproachable for a lot of people. Personally, I’m rather turned off by the art style – a bit too much brown in the character designs – but I guess I’ll give it a try after this glowing recommendation.

  12. Rane2k says:

    Gotta check this out soon, sounds interesting.
    I used to love playing DotA, but as mentioned above, having a 30 minute game ruined by having a leaver/feeder on your team created this looong slow death spiral. You knew you would lose, but had to stick around till the bitter end.

  13. Friend says:

    I’ve chipped in on RPS about BLC before, but, again, really, play this game. It’s one of the absolute best free-to-play games out there, and it has some great developers behind it. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to the mechanics it all starts flowing along very smoothly.

    My name there is Friend; if anyone has questions or would like some help starting out, feel free to add me as a friend, har, and message me.

  14. Daniel Klein says:

    I met the CEO of Stunlock at Gamescom last year and she struck me as a very smart person who knew exactly what she wanted from the game. I’ve only played a few rounds of it so far, but it’s amazingly fun indeed, and they Get It. Particularly the F2P model. I see a lot of the high ELO LoL players play a few rounds of BC while waiting in queue to get matched (at the high end of our ladder that can unfortunately sometimes take between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the time of the day).

    Definitely planning to sink more time into this game. It is amazingly fun.

  15. DucKe says:

    As an avid BLC player, I would like to thank RPS for reviewing this game fairly. This was an enjoyable read and I really hope BLC grows and obtains the exposure it deserves. It really is a fantastic game. :)

    For North Americans who are thinking of trying BLC but don’t know where to begin, I currently run a BLC website that focuses on teaching new players and helping them become the best players they can be. We have tons of guides on general gameplay and on specific bloodlines. We have coaches that will transform newbies into pros. We have a great community that is full of fun and jest.

    If you’re interested, come check out GotKunju (www.gotkunju.com). We’ll be happy to get you started with BLC ASAP!

  16. BurningPet says:

    Didnt click on me. i play and love HoN, Demigod and LoL, but this one just lacks the strategic depth that they have. although i can see why it appeal to others with the much shorter rounds, the skill based gameplay and the fast and immediate action. it has hugh potential as an e-sport, one that i will gladly save the time and not follow.

  17. Blob-World-Eye-Weary says:

    I really been enjoying this game to much lately been playing 3-4 hours every time I get a chance to. There are game similar to this in warcraft 3 customs maps, doe, aotz, aom, tob and maybe dota not that you can dodge storm bolt ball <.< . So hon and LoL came out just didn't make the cut for me, then Bloodlines comes out and they say it was based on nox and it blew me away. With dota and LoL you can get snowball effect easily and destroy everyone with items alone sometimes, bloodlines when you lose you can just say he was just better then you and not feel like in game item killed you which is nice.

    Anyway for free game like this you shouldn't pass it up. It hard to put word down from my head to paper D:

  18. Dina says:

    Can’t really agree with this WIT.

    Tried it too last week, where I also was in the beta a good half year ago. Blood Coins were new and only 4 new bloodlines were playable. Earning coins and all is good, but dear god do you have to play a crapton just to buy a new one. And the ones you’re comfortable with? Prepare to see them gone, replaced by new ones for you to learn. Not really suitable for an ‘e-sport’, I’d say.

    But what’s more, 6 to 7 abilities is clearly too much for a small arena-like game like this. I agree with the sentiment that it’s more like a fighter then like DotA, but it’s like a fighter where special moves are flying out every second without their being a back-lash. With a 7 second cooldown, you guess there is some thinking to be involved. And there probably is in high level play. When you just start out, you are cycling all your abilities, whack-a-moling everything that’s off the cooldown. The result is a giant clusterfuck and utter chaos where tactics go straight out of the window. My team would just pick 3 dps classes and burst someone down while trying to avoid everything else. Zero coordination, zero cohesion.

    This probably changes after sinking in a good 4 hours in the game with one particular bloodline, but then that one is shipped out for another, resetting the curve. It would seem that at some point, when the bloodlines click and your team, if you have one, meshes together. Until that vague point, hop onto a stealth character so that you can defend yourself and train the nearest enemy long enough for it to die. Fun as that might seem, it’s not.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Dina: I’m pretty ambivalent about the f2p model, but as long as the game doesn’t require you to spend more than you would on a regular one in order to get a reasonable amount out of it (i.e., all the champions you would want to use) then I wouldn’t say it’s a problem, and it would be pretty unfair to call the game out as an e-sport on those grounds. After all, professional gamers do have to buy a copy of the game they’re going to play in a regular scenario.

    • Kdansky says:

      If you like the game, you could just buy the standard package, which costs about as much as any other game.

    • TheCable says:

      Yes, getting enough bloodcoins to buy a new bloodline will take you ~2 weeks if you consistently collect the daily bonus, which you should do as its the main source of bloodcoins (you get the bonus from playing matchmaking).
      HOWEVER, as you start out, you get a bunch of coins from achievements, allowing you to get enough coins your first and 2nd BLs in ~1 week.

      It’s really not that much different from 6300 IP champs in LoL, it takes about the same time to unlock those.The advantage LoL has over BLC in that regard is that there’s no weekly cap, so if you play a lot, you can unlock champions faster.
      However, LoL pumps out champs literally every few weeks and BLC actually cares about balance so they are more careful with that.So each new unlock you make in BLC unlocks a higher total % of content.

      Other than that, just buy the damn game if you enjoy it.You can buy HoN for 30$ too except there’s no F2P model which is just an alternative.And it’s a pretty good one, because playing for free doesn’t yield any direct disadvantages.Unlocking 4-5 BLs is enough to be competitive.

      6-7 abilities is what makes this game so good.Yeah, at first it seems like you are just supposed to spam abilities as soon as they are off cd, but good players save their skills for appropriate timings/coordinate with their allies.Playing random pub games with low level players is chaotic, I agree.But when you start playing competitively (3v3s), there’s a TON of strategy involved.
      I won’t claim BLC is some sort of strategic masterpiece, the regular “Moba” games obviously rely on strategy more, BLC is more similar to a FPShooter, where reaction, mindgames (predicting opponent’s movement patterns, baiting counterattack “trances” etc.etc.) and quick fingers are more important.
      I just don’t think it’s fair to say that game has no strategic depth and is all about “mashing buttons” just because you haven’t played competitively.

      Your last complaint is a valid one if you’re playing the game for free, which again, is optional.You can’t expect devs to allow you to play completely for free.But it’s actually a valid alternative, unlike most other “F2P” games, where you can get advantages by buying stuff.
      Once you unlock a couple of BLs, it all becomes better.

  19. Antlia says:

    I just installed League of Legends, but haven’t played anything else than the tutorial. Should I download this game or continue with LoL?

  20. TitusCrow says:

    As a Gnome who made his fortune stomping naabs, getting arena teams up to the 2000’s then selling the slots and team finally back in TBC wow days this sounds like it might be fun. Since its free I shall check this out.

  21. mrx says:

    I’m a Bloodline champs player for the last 2-3months.

    First of all would like to thank you all for the very nice comments and awsome review.

    Please try out the game its not a big download, its free and extremely awsome fun to play.

    On Balance, its very well balanced overall, theres a few tiny issues with a few spells at high lvl play but everything in this game is 100% skill based, no luck(besides lag spikes) involved(and of course allies if random team mates).
    On the fact that free plays don’t have access to all heros so the opponents might have an advantage, its not much of an issue, all heros setups can be useful or suck terribly as its extremely skill based in both a single player way and in team coordination. Sure there are a few counter to certian heros by other heros in single player but the game isn’t really balanced around that, its balanced around teamplay, also thats also assuming near equal skill, 90% of the time its player skill that makes most of a difference than anything else.

    The worst thing I can say about this game is lack of a clan and replay function which are on there way atm. and ofc a few bugs, other than that its an amazing enjoyable game which for me personally is not matched by anything else due to it having such an awesome community, it being so skill based and the fact that a game doesn’t take longer than 10min max.

  22. Berzee says:

    I like how effortlessly you have introduced the phrase “PvP Arena Battle Game” … it might fool someone into thinking you’ve confidently decided on a genre =)

  23. sebmojo says:

    Nice article Quintin, I’ll check it out.

    And props to all the BLC players, you all seem very charming :)

  24. SecretFolder says:

    Nice review!
    This game has very little in common with DOTA or LoL. I never played Nox, but I played Fury, and BLC is quite similar to that, though better.

    It’s easy to get into, and some people feel that they’ve mastered the game in a week, though they are quite wrong.

    On the other hand, BLC really is not that much hardcore. It is very hard to reach the top-level, but it’s very easy to just play custom games, learn the ropes, and join the solo ladder and compete.

    And the community is quite good, but like every game we have bad apples who don’t perform as well as they think they do, and proceed to blame their team for losing.
    But all things considered, the community is very good. They have a hard time understanding sarcasm, but it’s nothing like HoN’s nightmarish community.

    Also, for info, you can unlock almost all the characters for 30$.
    An additional 10$ for 4 more characters if you want.
    Yes it takes a long time to unlock things with bloodcoins alone, but 30$ for almost everything is very nice. Much better than LoL at least.

  25. BenBen says:

    Why people always gotta hate on gibbering?

  26. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    Those are some fine Hammer-pants on that Reaver fellow.

  27. manveruppd says:

    Wait… what? Are all Bloodlines players six-fingered???

    • Berzee says:

      Five abilities on the keyboard and one on a mouse button, is my guess. I am still slightly confused about that too.

    • manveruppd says:

      I apologise, I forgot that people have 2 hands, not 1, which would make you all 3-fingered. That must be a drag.

      Seriously though, how DOES this compare to Guild Wars?

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s really not much like Guild Wars at all.

      As for the default control layout, as a few people seem to be confused:
      Mouse: Aim.
      LMB: Skill 1
      RMB: Skill 2
      WSAD: Move (game has a locked top-down perspective)
      Space: Skill 3
      Q, E & R: Skills 4-6

      And that’s about it. You can’t attack and move at the same time, but it’s far more arcadey and directly controlled than, say, DOTA. Nothing is hitscan, and attacks are targetted at where your mouse cursor is, not the nearest target to it, so it’s possible to miss one guy but hit another by accident.

  28. HarrietTubgirl says:

    Bloodline Champions is just the fun parts of League of Legends without the 16minute timer for your team to surrender or get stomped out. Also no annoying leveling up, I don’t understand how people enjoy leveling their hero in LoL for the 500th time.

  29. thebigJ_A says:

    Chain Heal doesn’t sound at all like refusing sick poor people proper medical treatment whilst refusing to use your organization’s vast wealth to actually improve their lot in life, to me.

    Or maybe there’s some other lady going about calling herself “Mother Theresa”.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Lim-Dul says:

    Exalted Beta Tester here. ^^
    Have been playing BLC on and off since last March. I didn’t really ever go crazy-competitive with it but with its short matches it’s absolutely ace. It’s good that they included VoIP after all (albeit ad-supported) since otherwise you would get rofl-stomped by any team sitting i.e. on Ventrilo together since in such a fast-paced game split seconds matter a lot and there’s absolutely no time for typing.

    I love the graphics design of the characters – none of the female characters are oversexed (apart from perhaps the Ravener a tiiiny bit), which is SO rare. And pretty much like in TF2 they tried hard to make the character models distinguishable by shape at first glance so you never feel lost as to who is who.

    What I also like is the boldness of some gameplay tweaks. In the beta whole skills would be scrapped from week to week and even nor, after release, they like to do similar stuff to spice up or nerf under/overused Bloodlines – not just pure number juggling, you see.

    BLC is also one of the few games where playing a healer is very rewarding. They usually only have one true healing skill, a few utility skills but are also powerful attackers in their own right if left unattended – take Psychopomp who increases damage done through an effect similar to an offensive Chain Heal AND her ultimate makes both heals and attacks cast twice (double damage, baby!).

    It’s amazing how completely different many bloodlines play too and how much you can rock with one and suck with another despite initially thinking they are similar. Like, I am hopeless as a gunner but good with the igniter, crappy with astronomer but rocking with i.e. psychopomp, loving Vanguard and Thorn but losing all the time with Glutton and so on and so on.

    Really, try it out. ^^